Kyrgyzstan's interim interior minister authorized the police on Thursday to open fire on looters who have rampaged through Bishkek's streets during two days of rioting.
"I issued an order to open fire on looters," Bolotbek Sherniyazov said on state TV.
The protests began in the northwestern Kyrgyz town of Talas on Tuesday and spread to other regions of the country, including Bishkek, on Wednesday.
At least 75 people have been killed and more than 1,400 injured during the riots. The opposition formed a provisional government and claimed it had the support of the country's armed forces, border guards and police.
Eyewitnesses told the 24.kg news agency that special police units had headed for to a southern area of Bishkek where a big crowd was looting expensive homes and shops.
Armed rioters earlier burned the house of former prime minister Daniyar Usenov and attempted to seize the police headquarters.
Roza Otunbayeva, named prime minister by the opposition, ordered the interim interior minister to ensure Bishkek's streets were patrolled overnight.
"The situation in the city has improved slightly," she said. "We have the strength to get through this night."
BISHKEK, April 8 (RIA Novosti)